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Marine tourism success

Published: 23 Mar 2016 10:36

Expenditure in Scotland amounts to £3.7 billion.

Marine recreation and tourism expenditure in Scotland is estimated to amount to £3.7 billion per year, according to a report published today.

The Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey shows that £1.3 billion of expenditure comes from specialist marine activities including wildlife watching, sailing, kayaking, surfing and angling with expenditure on general recreation and tourism like beach combing, short walks and coastal cycling amounting to £2.4 billion.

This survey covers 23 different recreation and tourism activities undertaken at sea or around the Scottish coastline. General marine and coastal recreation, including beach activities was found to be the most popular activity.

Commenting on the latest findings, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said:

"Our seas are the jewel in Scotland's natural crown. They provide energy, food and are a massive draw for visitors from home and abroad. Marine tourism and recreation expenditure in Scotland amounts to £3.7 billion per year, supporting jobs, increasing participation in sports and recreational activities and showcasing Scotland as a world class destination.

"This survey is a significant step forward and will help us understand more about the economic value of the sector and information about the type of visitors/participants and the requirements to support sustainable development of the sector. This survey has been a partnership effort and I would like to thank all the organisations involved for their hard work bringing this information together."

Rhona Fairgrieve, Scottish Coastal Forum Manager said:

"This innovative project, successfully managed by the Firth of Clyde Forum and undertaken by Land Use Consultants, has made a substantial contribution towards filling the gaps in data relating to marine recreational activities that were highlighted during the development of the Scottish National Marine Plan.

"The Scottish Coastal Forum welcomes the publication of the results of the national survey of marine recreation and tourism, undertaken during 2015. In particular, the findings in relation to the value of expenditure on the activities are significant and are welcomed as an addition to the available information on social, economic and environmental uses of Scotland's superb coastal and marine resources."

Daniel Steel, Chief Executive of Sail Scotland said:

"This research confirms what we hear about our scenery, wildlife, and food and drink being a huge draw and underlines the contribution that marine recreation and tourism is playing in driving the Scottish economy. The challenge through the Scottish Marine Tourism Strategy is for us to work collaboratively to grow this even further over the next few years!"

Alan Laidlaw, Head of Property in Scotland for The Crown Estate, said:

"As one of the funders of the study, we were keen to find out how much activity there is and what attracts visitors to the sailing hotspots around Scotland. This research shows how good coastal management and targeted support - carefully designed to deliver long-term benefits - is really strengthening communities and local economies. The natural scenic beauty of Scotland's coastline combined with high quality facilities and services are clearly a winning combination. In recent years The Crown Estate has helped several locations to improve their visitor facilities - this study shows there is a ready market for them with marine recreation now a multi-billion pound industry."

Notes to editors

Full details of the Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey is available here:

Maps from the survey are available on National Marine Plan interactive website at:

This Survey has been developed by the Scottish Government, the Firth of Clyde Forum, the Scottish Coastal Forum and the Crown Estate together with support from members of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism.

For the purposes of the study marine recreation and tourism is defined as: including those activities which involve travel away from one's "habitual" place of residence, which have as their host or focus the marine environment and / or the coastal zone.

The report provides information about the benchmarking and estimating the total spend associated with marine recreation and tourism in Scotland.

The following financial data, whilst not directly comparable, do provide context for the headline estimates of spending:

• During the twelve months to June 2015, Scottish GDP (including off-shore economic activity) is estimated at between £142 and £153 billion.

• The Scottish Government estimates the value of the marine economy (based on core activities which do not include recreation and tourism) to have been £4.5 billion GVA in 2013.

• In 2014, Visit Scotland estimated that expenditure associated with overnight tourism trips in Scotland totalled £4.8 billion. This survey covered a much larger number of trips (overnight trips comprised a relatively small proportion trips to the coast) and included activities better described as recreation than tourism (e.g. walking the dog at the coast) which would not be captured by the Visit Scotland figure.

• The Scottish Annual Business Survey estimated that, in 2013 'sustainable tourism' in Scotland accounted for turnover of £6.7 billion.

• In 2010, Scottish Enterprise estimated the total value of the sailing market in Scotland to be between £270 and £300 million with around £100 million attributed to the direct and indirect spending generated by sailing tourism. The sailing tourism total is in line with the survey figures.